A View From the Press Box

The Battle of Alberta

It’s certainly alive and well!!

 

The Calgary Flames defeated their provincial rivals the Edmonton Oilers 4 to 2 in home game 9 and overall season game 19 on Saturday night. It was the first Battle of Alberta game this season and the

game did not disappoint. The Battle of Alberta is truly alive and well!

 

It was one of the best and most intense games this early season. There was an extra buzz in the Saddledome, a playoff type atmosphere on and off the ice; with a large Oiler fan base and both sides being quite vocal throughout the game.

 

Flames forward Sam Bennett set the tone during the 2nd shift of the game with a solid open ice hit on Oiler defenseman Darnell Nurse. And a few minutes later both players were involved in a good scrap with fists a flying! Even Connor McDavid and Mikael Backlund got involved in a wresting match in the first period! Things got even more intense when Zach Kassian tried to get Matthew Tkachuk to square off but Tkachuk didn’t want to dance! Kassian received 3 separate, 2 minute penalties for roughing and a 10 minute misconduct on the play during a major player pileup. It was an intense and physical period with the Oilers up 1 to 0 after the first period. Ex – Flames forward Alex Chiasson scored a nice shorthanded goal to give the Oilers the early game lead.

 

Connor McDavid scored in the 2nd period on the power play while the Flames Derek Ryan scored a power play goal as well and Edmonton entered the 3rd period up 2 to 1.

 

The Flames made another exciting comeback in the 3rd. Calgary outshot the Oilers 18 to 5 in the final period to dominate the end of the game. Sean Monahan started the Flames comeback with a goal off a rebound shot by Travis Hamonic early in the 3rd, Monahan’s 10th of the season. At the 9 minute mark Elias Lindholm put the Flames ahead for good. Lindholm sealed the win for the Flames with an empty net goal his team leading 11th of the season. The Flames top line broke out of a mini slump with Lindholm and Monahan combining for 3 goals. Lindholm on the night “It was nice for our line to get a couple goals there and help the confidence a little and get the feeling of how to score a goal again.” It is worth noting; the Flames have rallied for six wins in the 3rd period this season; leading the league with 32 third period goals.

 

Coach Bill Peters on why Lindholm is such a good fit here in Calgary. He said  “He’s a good player…high end player…versatile player…best thing for me with him…right handed shot…takes face offs…kills penalties…plays 4 on 4…plays on the power play…he’s a gamer…he touches the game in a lot of areas, valuable player to have…”

 

David Rittich had the start and played a superb game making 24 of 26 saves. The Czech goalie was outstanding stopping 3 breakaway changes as well. No bad goals allowed and played nearly a perfect game. Rittich was asked if he was trying to spark the team when he raised his arms at the bench after stopping another break away. “A little bit because, you know, it was the 4th break away or what ever it was and just want to (make an impact) or something kind of like that.”  “That’s my job so, like, it’s a great feeling but that’s why I’m in the net; for making saves.”

 

Coach Peters on Rittich’s role “He was huge…he made some break away saves…he was real solid.”

 

The 3 stars of the game were Elias Lindholm, David Rittch and Travis Hamonic respectively.

 

Coach Peters on the overall game  “Thought it was a competitive hockey game,… some big hits, strong plays along the walls…have to be all in…committed to winning your battles…exciting game to be involved in for sure…” “This rivalry is legit!”

 

The Flames vs. Oilers next game is scheduled for Sunday, December 9th in Edmonton.

 

Stay tuned for another exciting and lively showdown in Round 2 of the Battle of Alberta this season!